Garmin has released its latest off-grid adventure device – the inReach Messenger. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can send an SOS message if you’re out of cellphone range and need help.
Whether you’re in the mountains or in another remote location, wearing one of the best Garmin watches to accompany your adventure, this new device, which fits easily in your pocket or backpack, can be invaluable in an emergency.
The inReach Messenger, which is a follow-up to Garmin’s InReach Mini 2, pairs with your phone via the InReach Messenger app and automatically switches to a satellite connection when it detects you’re out of range.
You can push an SOS button on the side of inReach Messenger in case of an emergency, and a dedicated emergency response team will coordinate a response from a 24/7 center.
Staff can communicate with inReach Messenger to notify emergency services as well as alert the user’s emergency contacts.
In addition to an SOS device, it also acts as a tracker, so friends and family can constantly track your location whether you’re hiking on a local mountain or in the middle of nowhere. The tiny device, which looks like a portable phone charger, measures just 3.1 x 2.5 inches / 7.9 x 6 cm and weighs 14g. It also has a messaging service on its small screen and can even be used to recharge your phone.
The new addition to the Garmin family, which costs $299 / £249.99 / A$469.00 can be used alone, which is handy if you run out of phone battery, but it also pairs with the InReach Messenger app, which pairs with 80 other Garmin devices, including smartwatches, laptops and browsers.
One of the great selling points of the InReach Messenger is the long battery capacity: once fully charged it can last for 28 days, twice the capacity of the InReach Mini 2, which means you can plan a long adventure without worrying about losing the connectivity.
Is the device a game-changer for adventurers?
Fitness tech companies are aware that we want more from our gadgets, including safety features, and this new device gives us a little peace of mind when we’re on an adventure.
Garmin isn’t the first to offer this kind of technology. The Apple Watch has fall detection – alerting your closest contacts or emergency services if you have a bad fall. The Apple Phone 14 also allows you to send an emergency text message via satellite if you are out of cellular or Wi-Fi range.
But it’s the long battery life that’s a real winner – few devices today last more than a few days, let alone nearly a full month. The app, in turn, is a great addition, allowing you to send longer messages to friends or family.
Want to follow the rest of your adventure? Here’s our guide to the best fitness trackers.